Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Where do you buy your music?

I remember when I was a teenager. Each Saturday morning my friends and I would walk downtown to the local music store. We'd spend hours looking through the racks of vinyl records dreaming about having enough money to buy every single album we wanted. Several hours later, we'd leave the store with a couple of 45s. And, once we got home, we'd play those 45s over and over and over. Our poor parents...

Now, while I can look back fondly on those times, I think that today's teens have it WAY better! They're exposed to so much diverse music. They can sample much for free. They can watch videos whenever they want. The easy access to music and bands is a great accomplishment of the Internet, I think.

And, there's been a lot of news about the music industry lately. I'm sure you heard last week that Apple has topped Walmart, and has become the leading seller of music in this country. See their press release for full details: iTunes Store Top Music Retailer in the US.

In only five years, i-Tunes has acquired over 50 million customers; iTunes has sold over four billion songs and features the world’s largest music catalog of over six million songs. Wow. How times have changed.

And, then, this news about MySpace competing with iTunes: MySpace music partnerships take on Apple iTunes.

Yes, MySpace wants a piece of online music sales. From the article: "According to the plan, the records labels will be posting their entire digital music catalogs to MySpace's music site, where visitors can preview and download songs. It is expected to go live later this year."

You know, this is one area where I think that using MySpace for direct music sales makes sense. Most bands already use MySpace to communicate with fans. Why not allow for music sales, while you have a captive audience of fans visiting your MySpace site?

So, why the discussion today, on this Direct Marketing Blog, about the music industry?

Well, here's the thing, I'm just fascinated by how markets evolve, and how the sales process changes accordingly. iTune becoming the biggest seller of music just shows that sales (for this industry) have moved, in large part, from a retail experience to a direct sales experience.

And, that's the trend, I think for many industries. Sales are moving closer to the customer. The Web has enabled customer-generated product research, putting the customer more in control of the information we digest.

I see direct marketing (in its purest form) becoming even more important in commerce. Knowing how to communicate with your customers in a one-on-one fashion isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, it's growing in importance, if the music example is a good barometer of how commerce continues to evolve.

All good news for us Direct Marketers!

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